Train Your Body Better For The NYC Marathon

Runner gets water mid-run on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by: Tamsen Maloy)

Marathoners train hard, and the beat of their feet as they run is synonymous with a battle cry. It is embedded in every step and stride.

Runners train for months before the New York City Marathon , but there is something to be said about the inherent dangers that come with the rigorous training needed to brave a full marathon, but the key is: moderation and focus.

Many runners advocate for training to better their body, as opposed to their time or speed, to ensure healthier progress.

Budd Coates, director of training for Runner’s World magazine, stresses listening to one’s body while training. According to a survey by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, more than half of the marathon runners interviewed reported some sort of injury during training that they didn’t seek treatment for outside of resting.

Coates tells his athletes to avoid painkillers and focus on recovery. It’s when runners decide to mask pains or aches and train too much without rest that common injuries become problems.

For example, a health study released in by the American Journal of Kidney Disease showed that roughly three-quarters of 22 marathon runners tested before and after a race had signs of kidney injuries after the race.

“Running by itself does not in any way create kidney failure,” said Coates. “It’s the use of analgesics to allow a person to run farther than they should be running because their body’s trying to tell them they should stop.”

Runners racing to the finish on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by: Tamsen Maloy)

Allen Leonard Fernandez, New York Road Runner New Balance Center Shoe Specialist, agrees with this idea. “The most important thing is moderation,” he said. “Anything in excess, like training for multiple runs in one year, can be too much.” He also said it’s as much a mental undertaking as purely a physical one because runners tend to be more “anti-social” while training.

Christine Nasol, who trained for the New York marathon with a group class, said, “Socially and physically you make sacrifices, but it’s worth it. You’re just like, yeah, I did that.”

Despite the pressure to perform and the possibility of injuries, many runners choose the holistic approach.

Barbara Klasewitz, a New York Road Runner’s Open Run volunteer and full marathon novice, said, “Some people go out and train to finish as quickly as they can. That pushes the body to extreme levels. My goal is to complete the marathon in a time that is reasonable to me. I would like to jog the whole thing but if I feel the need to walk a portion I will.”

Six Training Tips For Novice Marathoners

You can’t just hop up and run 26.2 miles. Here are tips from marathoners — experienced and first-timers — on training:

  • Make A Plan

Barbara Klasewitz: There’s no real one size fits all training plans. If you need guidance seek out a virtual coach, group training class, or just a friend that can go with you. Even if your goal is to get up everyday and just start jogging as far as you can go, stick to it.

  • Practice For Time Or Distance

Katie Sarmiento: “Face your race. Run your race, your pace.” The marathon is a race and timed, but other than the pros, that’s not why everyone runs. Some people at it for the first time ever just want to finish. Decide how you want to run your race, and train for it accordingly.

  • Be Prepared When It Hurts

Jessica Lebron, 7-time marathoner: Injuries happen, but they don’t have to be detrimental. Find a regiment for cooling down, icing, and stretching that works for you to avoid injuries while training and racing.

  • Put The Tech Down

Jill E. Czarnik: “Learn to listen to your body, you know, without the Garmin.” There’s basically an app, virtual assistance, or gadget for every aspect training. If the app says to push when your body wants to rest, then losing yourself to all that tech can cause more harm than good. Sometimes it’s better to unplug and just run.

  • Eat Right

Christine Nasol: Eat healthy in general. “I like coconut water and bananas for recovery.” Not every diet has to be the same or even extreme to be effective. In the intense weeks or months before a race make sure to pay attention to what you eat and when. The most important thing to remember is to eat foods that will benefit your training, and not hinder it.

  • Pay Attention

Budd Coates: Focus on training for when to run, walk, jog, or sprint during the race. The New York City marathon differs in elevations with five bridges to run up and down. “It’s sneaky hard. The first mile is a real uphill and the next two miles are downhill. It’s quite often they’ll overreact to that and the excitement of the crowd.”

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